Spring 2024
Thursdays 15:45 - 17:30

The Agrarian Question
From Colonialism to Urban Agriculture
Nitin Bathla

Under 21st-century extended urbanization, architecture and spatial practices are increasingly intertwined with agrarian concerns. This course delves into the intersections of urbanization, architecture, and the agrarian question. It covers historical aspects like land enclosure, colonialism, and primitive accumulation, as well as contemporary topics such as urban agriculture and green initiatives.

The introductory sessions will bring urbanisation and the agrarian question in a world historical perspective through exploring land settlement under colonialism, and the various revolutions and counter-revolutions that emerged in its wake in the global countryside. A further set of sessions will explore the question of food through discussing food sovereignty, food regimes, urban farming, and the future of food. A central facet of the seminar will be the question of land and labour, which will be discussed through the themes of global depesentisation, migration, land enclosure, and primitive accumulation. Lastly, the seminar will explore the contemporary entanglements between the agrarian question and urbanisation through considering global supply chains, carbon forestry, and urbanism in agrarian territories.

Each of the thematic session will include two to three recommended readings, podcasts or lectures. The course participants will prepare short presentations based on these readings in groups of two followed by a moderated discussion.

  1. Urbanisation and the agrarian question in the 21st century

  2. Colonial wastelands, settlement, and improvement

  3. Nature? Plantationocene – operationalisation, circulation and the global supply chains

  4. Food and the agrarian question: food sovereignty, hunger, and the future of food

  5. More-than-human agrarianisms

  6. Agrarian Urbanisms

  7. Land enclosure, fallows, and human-non-human conflict

  8. Feminist agriurbanism

  9. Improvement: Energy, nature, and the climate

  10. Urban and regenerative agriculture